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Origin improves retention with driver-first practices

Origin is more than just a name, it’s a new way for the logistics industry.

“We manage with people in mind. Period. If we go out of business doing that, I’m ok with it. If we go out of business without integrity, I’m not ok with that,” says John Marienau, co-founder of Origin Transport.

Founded in 2018 by long-time friends Travis Arave and John Marienau, the now 21-truck carrier company came from humble beginnings and a much-altered vision. After purchasing their first rig to help generate investment funds, the two eventually ended up on the road long-term, wives by their side, and a dream for something different. 

“Trucking was never the idea. It became the idea because of the people we were around,” says John.

People is a recurring theme for Origin, and, in an industry known to undervalue the very people central to its success, new and seasoned drivers found themselves responding to the budding freight company’s shiny offers with skepticism. “We got asked what the catch was often,” John jokes.

Both from a local food service background (which often provides salaried driving positions), Travis and John didn’t initially realize there was a catch to their offer. “We just wanted to create a place that we would be proud to drive for,” says John. It didn’t take the duo long to understand that a salary, benefits, and weekends off were anything but normal in the industry. Drivers are mostly paid on a per-mile basis. That means if a carrier’s truck breaks down or severe weather delays the route, the driver just doesn’t get paid. In addition to low-or-no pay for the #7 Most Dangerous Job in America, truck driving is known for merciless schedules, long drives, and extended time away from families.

Rick Glaubitz, VP of Business Development, recalls, “I watched my dad go out on the road for 3 weeks at a time. He was everything to me—him not being home for my football games was difficult to understand. Origin is doing something different—they are getting fathers back each weekend so they can be with their families.”

Origin’s people-based practices are only half the reason for its rapid growth and success.

“Our sales have exploded partially to how we treat our drivers and partially to how we solve problems for customers,” says Rick.

From the very beginning, it seems John and Travis were an optimal balance of professional prowess and operational know-how.

“I gravitated toward numbers—I was good at booking trucks and keeping people moving. John was better at the tech stuff and handling relationships,” says Travis.

The two quickly made a name for themselves in the industry with their impeccable professionalism and impressive ability to function as a big and nimble business despite their small size. They had a little luck on their side, too. With the sudden development of a worldwide pandemic, halted deliveries, and sky-high prices as a result, Travis and John saw a window of opportunity.

“Shippers were hurting badly—that was our unique chance. People were in trouble, and we were there to help.”

With an influx of business and a rapidly growing fleet, speed and flexibility became even more imperative to daily operations. With overlapping drop times, an ever-increasing demand, and a limited number of trucks on the road, Origin’s unflinching ability to dial it in and get it done is what any logistics business aspires to provide. By maximizing each team member’s unique strengths and pairing them with modern payment apps like Relay to promote greater efficiency across the board, Origin manages to not only satisfy and retain loyal customers but simultaneously keep their drivers’ satisfaction at the center of all decisions.

“I’m always going to get these drivers home. I don’t care if I have to dead-head the truck home. That’s our promise to them,” says John.

To end our time with the carrier dream team changing the logistics game, we asked them to reflect on the synergies between the Relay and Origin missions.

“Technology is extraordinarily beneficial to the industry—it creates speed, and speed creates value. There is a lot of room for innovation and change.”

To learn how Relay’s technology can help your business better serve drivers and customers, visit our website or get in touch with our team directly.